Catching up: Moving with chickens

small red chicken coop.
The temporary coop had two small caged areas that served as runs, plus four nesting boxes on the second level of the coop. The girls were cramped.

Moving with chickens is an exercise in logistics.

It seemed enough to pack up every single thing in my house and come up with a plan to move it about an hour from my house. But what about the chickens?

I couldn’t see transporting them the day of the big move. So I decided to leave them with a bunch of water and food, and came back for them a couple days later. This gave us time to assemble a very small temporary coop that would house them until we secured more permanent housing.

The day I picked them up, I had already moved their kibble and food/water containers, so all I had to do was put them in a large dog carrier (no easy feat!) and pack them in the car for an hour’s ride.

The drive was grotesque.

Let me tell you, riding with three chickens is one of the smelliest things I have ever endured. As soon as I started driving, they all started pooping. I was so glad it was a warm June day, so I could drive with the windows down the whole way!

Once we got to the new house, I put the chickens in the temporary coop.

PROS: It was a safe place for the chickens to live. There seemed to be (barely) enough room for them.

CONS: It was a really tight fit for three chickens (they were vocal about this). While there were four nesting boxes on the second floor of the mini-coop, there was nowhere for them to roost — so the chickens started sleeping in the nesting boxes. Also the coop’s design did not have a door; the entire area was enclosed but I did not like this design.

Three chickens in a coop.
Loretta, Nellie and Gigi in their new digs.

We used the coop for two months, just long enough to get everyone settled and to find a new, more permanent option.

We ended up ordering a custom-built chicken coop from an Amish furniture company. We had considered building our own coop, as we had in Metro Detroit, but we just didn’t have time on our hands. The chickens were cramped, and we didn’t want to take four months for another build.

The new chicken coop.
Inside: an electric door and nesting boxes.

In the end, we bought a coop that is 4x6x6 feet tall. Quite a bit smaller than the coop we built, but still recommended for 5-7 chickens. It has nice shingles on the roof, along with a small run area, plus space for the chickens to wander under the coop. Bonus items are an electric package with four outlets and a ceiling light, along with a electric-powered door that automatically lets them out in the morning and closes them up at night. I heart that feature!

So far, it’s more than enough room for two chickens. (We had to rehome Nellie shortly after the move; I will write about that in the next blog.) We plan on getting two more chicks in four weeks. That will bring us up to the city’s limit on chickens, and probably the realistic limit on the coop.

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